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poster session

  1. 1. Introduction Emotions within the learning process has been shown to affect multiple aspects of an individual’s academic experience including their performance, enjoyment and self-concept. Pekrun and colleagues (2006) exhibited that emotional states are effected by judgments of control over achievement activities and their outcomes, and of the value one places on these activities and outcomes. Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Therefore coping with the demands of an educational system can be extremely difficult for those with dyslexia resulting in greater risk of being effected emotional ly but is this the case for all dyslexics? Findings suggest that dyslexics can and do experience difficulty within the academic setting on an emotional level, for example exhibiting higher levels of anxiety, learned hopelessness and anger (Kerr, 2001, Carroll and Iles, 2006, Singer, 2005). This research has mainly focused on school-age children with fewer studies on students in Higher Education. This study has investigated the role dyslexia has on emotion within an higher education academic setting, venturing to see if there are differences within the higher education collective and if so in what domains do these operate in, comparing emotions within class and during learning(or study). Method Method: An anonymous online -based questionnaire (figure:1) was used to collect responses from both dyslexic and control (non-dyslexics) students. Participants accessed questionnaire via a web link where answers were given on a likert scale. Materials: The Achievement Emotions Questionnaire (AEQ) is a multi-dimensional self-report instrument designed to assess college students’ achievement emotions (Pekrun et al, 2002). The emotions of happiness, anger, anxiety and hopelessness are examined in the academic achievement situations of attending class or studying. Recruitment and Participants: Both groups were recruited via online advertisement on social networking sites Facebook (Figure:2). in addition to this The dyslexic group was also recruited via the Aberdeen university student support network email system. 141 participants completed the survey of which 80 were dyslexics and 61 were non dyslexic. Of the total 91 where females, 50 were males the group ranged from 16-20 to over 30 years, also of this survey cohort 59 studied within arts and 80 within science. Discussion it is important to remember that all of the participants were highly capable students, able to enter higher education ,and as dyslexia is a highly heterogeneous learning disability, with other factors other than a diagnosis of dyslexia being contributory demonstrating that motivation and self -determination drastically effecting experience(fields et al, 2003). We must endeavour to further our research in to this field to try and understand the facets of this difference as 2.6% of the student population in the UK (HESA, 2008) have dyslexia. One such reason for this difference shown by studies such as Singleton (1999), is that these students, compared to non-dyslexics, spend much more time and effort on their work in order to achieve accepted levels of academic competence, inadvertently causing the emotions exhibited by understanding the learning process we may gain greater insight . These experiences and emotions don’t just stop on graduation, Hughes and Dawson (1995) exhibit that a pattern of failure at school can leading to long-lasting negative feelings of self-worth together with perceptions of low personal intelligence leading to a vulnerability to depression(ALBSU, 1988). But there is hope Several studies(NJCLD, 1999. Stampoltzis and Polychronopoulou, 2008) have provided remedies to these Issues in that individualised proactive support from the institutions can alleviate these emotions. Acknowledgments I would like to thank my thesis supervisor Paul bishop for his continued support and granting me the opportunity to undertake this research. Also This project would not be possible without the support of Dr Lucy M. Foley, Head of Student Support at the university of Aberdeen Student Advice and Support Office. Who was pivotal in gaining access to dyslexic students. Finally I would like to thank Lillian Snowden for proof reading and both herself and Alan Snowden for their unrelenting support. References Learning Disabilities: Issues in Higher Education. A Report from the National JointCommittee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD), Vol. 22, No. 4 pp. 263-266 Stampoltzis, A. and Polychronopoulou, S. (2008), Dyslexia in Greek higher education: a study of incidence, policy and provision. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 8: 37–46. Pekrun, R., Elliot, A. J., & Maier , M. A. (2006) Achievement goals and discrete achievement emotions: a theoretical model and prospective test. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 583–597 Marsh, H.M. (1990) Influences of internal and external frames of reference on the formation of math and English self-concepts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 (1990), 107–116. Higher Education Statistics Agency (2008) Student tables: Table 11b— first year UK domiciled HE students by qualification aim (#12), mode of study, gender and disability 2006/07. Hughes, W., & Dawson, R. (1995). Memories of school: Adult dyslexics recall their school days. Support for Learning, 10(4), 181–184. Singleton, C. H. (Chair). (1999). Dyslexia in Higher Education: Policy, provision and practice (The Report of the National Working Party on Dyslexia in Higher Education Kerr, H. (2001), Learned Helplessness and Dyslexia: A Carts and Horses Issue?.Reading,35: 82–85. Carroll, J. M. and Iles, J. E. (2006), An assessment of anxiety levels in dyslexic students in higher education. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76: 651–662. Singer, E. (2005). The strategies adopted by Dutch children with dyslexia to maintain their self-esteem when teased at school. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(5), 411-423. Field, S., Sarver, M. D., & Shaw, S. F. (2003). Self-Determination A Key to Success in Postsecondary Education for Students with Learning Disabilities.Remedial and Special Education, 24(6), 339-349. Results Summary Responses from a modified version of the AEQ have demonstrated that within this study’s dyslexic cohort, when assessed, had significantly greater mean Likert scores on the negative emotions of anxiety and hopelessness compared to a non-dyslexic control cohort. This study was unable to report a significant difference between the participant groups on anger and enjoyment, although mean responses from dyslexics were greater for both emotions, also anger was only marginally insignificant. The context had an impact on responses from all participants within the study, as there was significant emotional different between the contexts assessed for all emotions assessed. When participants were asked to imagine themselves during study, higher mean responses were reported than when asked to imagine themselves in class. This current study was not able to report an interaction between the dyslexic status of the higher education students and the context in which they were asked to imagine themselves in for any of the emotions assessed, in that we were unable to find a context in which dyslexic’s expressed a significantly greater emotional response than non-dyslexic peers. Anxiety. We have found a significant difference in between response for anxiety with dyslexics (M= 3.172, SD=.091) and non-dyslexics (M=2.713, SD=.105), F(1,138)= 10.985, p= .001. There was a significant main effect of a context on responses on assessment of anxiety levels in class (M=2.745, SD=.074) and studying (M=3.140, SD=.076), F(1,138)=43.927, p= >.001. There was no significant interaction between context and presence or absence of dyslexia F(1,138)= 1.758, p=0.187. Hopelessness. We have found a significant difference in between mean responses for hopelessness with dyslexics (M=2.363, SD=.106) and non-dyslexics (M=1.992, SD=.122), F(1,138)=5.265 , p= .023. There was a significant main effect of a context on responses on assessment of hopelessness levels in class (M=2.002, SD= .080) and studying (M=2.352, SD=.089), F(1,138)=724.958, p= >.001. There was no significant interaction between context and presence of dyslexia F(1,138)= .087, p= .768. Enjoyment. We have found no significant difference in between response for enjoyment with dyslexics (M=3.454, SD=.067) and non-dyslexics (M=3.341, SD=.077), F(1,138)= 1.232 , p= .269. There was a significant main effect of a context on responses on assessment of enjoyment levels in class (M=3.269, SD= .055) and studying (M=3.526, SD=.058), F(1,138)=27.542, p= >.001 There was no significant interaction between context and presence or absence of dyslexia F(1,138)= .003, p=.958. Anger. We have found there to be marginally no significant difference in between response for anger with dyslexics (M=2.736, SD=.076) and non-dyslexics (M=2.527, SD= .087), F(1,138)= 3.273 , p= .073. There was a significant main effect of a context on responses on assessment of anger levels in class (M= 2.497, SD=.068) and studying (M=2.767, SD=.062) F(1,136)= 21.205, p= >.001. There was no significant interaction between context and presence or absence of dyslexia F(1,136)= .198, p= .657.